After two trips to the Mongolian embassy on Thursday - we got our Mongolian visas! From what I ascertained, when I dropped our rush visa applications off on Wednesday with the consular officer's assistant, she forgot to give them to the guy. When I went in on Thursday morning to pick them up, he looked very surprised. He then advised me to wait a few minutes (presumably so he could just process the visas), but they had "technical difficulties" with the system in Ulaanbaatar. Unsurprising, and somewhat expected so I wasn't really fazed that I had to go back in later that day.
The important thing is we got our Mongolian visas! I then went back to visit my buddy at the Azeri embassy and gave him my passport back. He said "for sure you will get visa by Tuesday". I said "how about tomorrow?" In a stunning display of efficiency, they did in fact process it by the next day.
So, our VISAS ARE DONE! Well, except for our Turkmenistan visas which we have to apply for in Istanbul since we only have a 5-day transit visa and we'll have a better idea of our timeline then.
Our visas - the numbers:
Numbers of Letters of Invitation needed: 6 each - Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia
Number of visas applied for (and received!): 7 each - the countries above plus Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and minus Turkmenistan
Number of visits to embassies and consulates in Ottawa: 12 - VisaHQ took care of the visas we had to get in Washington, DC
Grand total cost of all of this visa fun (ouch): approximately $1,075CAD each
Now we're ready to rock! Next project to tackle: packing!